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Celebrating Nature's Sounds

Handbell Concert to Celebrate Nature’s Sounds

Playing handbells allows Chris Ketcham to express herself in a completely different manner than she does in her typical work. Along with working in project management for the U.S. government, Ketcham has been in the Bellissimo! handbell group for four years.

Bellissimo!, along with two other handbell groups called Polymnia Bells and YUUth Bells, will perform at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. All the groups are connected with the church.

The concert will have a “Sounds of Nature,” theme. The music will “hopefully be meditative, as well as uplifting,” said Melodie Feather, director of handbells.

Feather said she picked the theme because each of the groups already had a piece in their repertoire that fit it.

The music comes from a wide range of styles, Feather said.

WHEN SOME of the groups’ members were asked what kept them involved, several said they enjoyed making music with others. “I’ve enjoyed being part of an ensemble,” said Sara Fiske, a Bellissimo! member.

Polymnia member Susan Andalora said she felt more noticed in a handbell group than she believed she would be in a chorus. Handbell music parts are more commonly played by one person, whereas choral parts are usually sung by many, she said.

The groups have members whose ages range from 10 to nearly 80, Feather said. Each group has 10 or 11 members. The church started forming the handbell groups five years ago, Feather said.

The concert will last about an hour and the longest piece will be about seven-and-a-half minutes, Feather said.

The pieces to be played are:

• “Emerson’s ‘Nature’” by Sarah Dan Jones.

• “Welcome the Day” by Kathleen Wissinger.

• “Cherry Blossom Song” arranged by Valerie Stephenson.

• “Beside Still Waters” by Howard Starks.

• “Danza” by T. Susato, arranged by Kevin McChesney.

• “Mountain Springs” by Sondra Tucker.

• “Bell Boogie” by James Smith.

• “Be Thou My Vision” arranged by Joseph Miller.

• “Virginia Highlands Suite” by Cynthia Dobrinksi.

• “It is Well With My Soul” by Philip Bliss.

• “Laudation” by Arnold Sherman.

The church is located at the intersection of Arlington Boulevard and South George Mason Drive.

For more information about the groups and their concerts, e-mail melodie@uucava.org or call 703-892-2135.